Ask the RD- Part 2

We are back today answering more of your questions with another installment of Ask the RD! If you missed Ask the RD part 1, be sure to check it out!

ask the RD 2

How much water should I drink in a day?

There are some variables that determine your fluid needs, including activity level and climate. Essentially if you are exercising and losing fluid through sweat, you will need to drink more than someone who is sedentary. Additionally, fluid demands increase during the hot summer months as you are perspiring more. As a baseline, you will need about 1 mL per calorie consumed. So for the average woman who is consuming about 1800 calories, the goal for fluid would be 1800 mL or 60 oz. As I mentioned, this does not take into account activity level or climate. Replacing fluid and electrolytes lost through sweat and activity is crucial to staying hydrated.

Is it better to get nutrients from food or supplements?

Whole foods are the best source of nutrients. Supplements do have a role in our diets, for exactly that- to supplement. You should always strive to eat a well balanced diet that provides a variety of vitamins and minerals. Supplements should be used to add to your already varied diet, especially in times of greater need such as pregnancy, malnutrition, malabsorption etc.

What is the difference between trans fat and saturated fat? Are they both bad?

Saturated fat is a type of fat present primarily in animal products- meat, dairy products. Non animal sources of saturated fat include coconut oil and palm oil. Saturated fat contributes to increased cholesterol levels, which contributes to greater risk of heart disease.

Trans fats are artificially created by adding hydrogen to vegetable oils, which results in a more┬ásolid fat. Trans fat increases LDL (bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL (good cholesterol), and also contributes to higher risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Baked goods such as pastries, doughnuts, pie crusts, frozen pizza etc. Look for the words “partially hydrogenated” on the ingredients label to indicate if a food has trans fat.

Both saturated fat and trans fat should be consumed in limited quantities. Trans fat has been banned in a variety of countries as well as US states, and the FDA no longer recognizes trans fat as “generally safe”. Try to reduce trans fat intake by limiting intake of processed foods, cooking in natural oils and reading nutrition labels carefully. In regards to saturated fat, look for low fat dairy products (skim milk, low fat/nonfat yogurts, light sour cream etc), lean cuts of meat (chicken breast) and trim any visible fat from any meat you consume.

How much fish, chicken, pork and beef should I eat in a week?

There are not really set guidelines on how much of each type of meat you should be consuming; however, limiting high fat, processed meats is always recommended. Chicken and fish are usually the leanest, healthiest options, so aim to have most of your meals contain one of these protein sources. Save red meat for a once a week treat- and always trim visible fat. Also shoot to have other sources of vegetarian protein including eggs, quinoa, beans, lentils, nuts etc.

Is dairy bad for you?

These are my favorite types of questions- Is _____ bad for me. I think anything that is not consumed in moderation, can be “bad” for you. Dairy provides a host of nutritional benefits including calcium and protein. There are claims stating dairy products are inflammatory and should be eliminated from our diets. These claims are unfounded, although, some people are sensitive to lactose, or have a dairy allergy, in which dairy would be “bad” for those people. Organic dairy products are likely a better option if you are going to consume dairy as they do not have any of the growth hormones that are sometimes used on conventional farms.


Keep your questions coming for our next installment of this series!


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